HPV Vaccine May Improve Fertility For A Specific Set Of Women

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More than 40 percent of U.S. adolescents are getting the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine. Though an HPV infection is associated with poorer semen quality and reduced rates of pregnancy, people have expressed concern about the vaccine’s longterm affect on fertility.

Now, Boston University researchers, after studying the relationship between fertility and HPV vaccination, discovered that for one group of women the vaccine may increase the likelihood of conception.

While the investigators found that generally the HPV vaccine is not a factor in men’s or women’s chances of conceiving, the vaccine helped women with a history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) become pregnant. STIs are correlated with lower fertility, yet women with STI histories who were vaccinated had about the same expectation of pregnancy as unvaccinated women with no STI history.

“Our study found no adverse effects of HPV vaccination on fertility and indicated that it may, in fact, protect fertility among individuals who have had other STIs,” said lead study author Kathryn McInerney, a Boston University doctoral student. “Our study should reassure those who are hesitant to vaccinate due to fertility concerns.”

The researchers based their conclusions on data from the Pregnancy Study Online, or PRESTO. This study recruited 3,483 women and 1,022 men, aged 21 to 45 who were actively attempting to conceive. Of the women who enrolled, 33.9 percent had been vaccinated for HPV. Just 5.2 percent of the men had received the vaccine.

“Internationally, parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children due to concerns about the vaccine's effect on future fertility,” says McInerney. “We hope this study will be useful for health providers who counsel individuals and families about HPV vaccination.”

This Boston University study was published in the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.

Source: Boston University School of Public Health


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